n this post, I’m going to share with you 2 mindset shifts I made that completely changed my life and really transformed my relationship with habits, my own behavior, and change in general.
When I say these are the TOP 2, I want you to know and understand that that means a lot. I have a Ph.D. in mindset and health behavior change. I study concepts that make mindset shifts WORK, and these 2 are way above the rest, in my opinion. Alright, let’s jump into it.
Mindset Shift 1: Frequency vs. Consistency
The mindset shift that transformed my entire life was choosing to focus on frequency instead of focusing on consistency. I know a lot of you are thinking, Wait, Karin, everyone in the health and personal development industry says that consistency is key.
Yeah, unfortunately, they do. I don’t know about you, but for me, being told you just need consistency feels like a slap in the face. Consistency is not something that is easy for me at all. In fact, it’s not something that’s easy for most of our clients in Alliance Coaching. And here’s why:
Change is Constant
As adults, we have lives that are constantly changing. We have lives that are fluctuating, things are coming in and going out. Situations are changing, circumstances are moving.
Everything is in a constant state of change.
Expecting ourselves to be consistent when everything around us is changing–to ask ourselves to be static when everything around us is fluid–is an unrealistic thing to do.
Not only that, but a lot of people I work with have an all-or-nothing mentality about consistency.
You say, I’m going to do this habit every single day. And when day 4 rolls around and you don’t do the habit, you feel immediately guilty. You might try to plan a new habit, or just give up completely. You adopt an on-again-off-again mentality about habits that could really make a difference for you.
So you’re probably asking me, Okay, Karin, but what does frequency mean? Isn’t that the same thing as consistency?? How do I do this???
Consistency is concrete
Well, I have an explanation for you. I want you to take out your handy dandy calendar and imagine that you want to be more consistent with your workouts. Let’s say you tell yourself,
I’m going to focus on consistently working out 3 times per week in April.
You put workouts on the calendar for, let’s say, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So that’s 12 workouts over the whole month with your goal to consistently work out 3 times per week.
But let’s say the first week rolls around and something happens–the kids are home from school, somebody’s sick, something’s going on, work is extra stressful, whatever it might be–and you only complete 2 workouts. You get Monday and Wednesday, but Friday falls away. If you’re hyper-focusing on being consistent and getting those 3 workouts every single week…my friend, you have already failed. And your brain will tell you, I have already failed. That is going to reduce your sense of self-efficacy and make you less likely to continue the workout plan.
If you’re anything like me or our clients–when they first come to us–is the whole second week ends up being a zero workout week because you’re obsessed over the fact that you lost your sense of consistency.
Frequency is flexible
Now, watch what happens when we switch to frequency. If we switch to frequency, you say,
I want to work out frequently this month, I want to work out a total of 12 times.
And the same thing happens: You set a goal to work out 3 times this week, but only complete Monday and Wednesday. In that situation, on Friday, you’re like, Well, that’s okay. It doesn’t matter that I only did 2 this week. I can still accomplish my end goal of 12 workouts in April.
Maybe the next week you walk in with a plan…with a growth mindset. You’re able to adjust and get 4 workouts done. If this mindset shift is resonating with you, tell me in the comments 1 thing you’re trying to be consistent with and give me some ideas of how you might focus on frequency instead.
By the way, if you’re not following me on Instagram, this is a topic I talk about all the time as I share stories in my daily life. Make sure that you are following me over there if this resonates with you.
Mindset Shift 2: Approach vs. Avoidance
Okay, so let’s talk about the second mindset shift that completely changed my life, and this one is a shift from focusing on avoidance goals to focusing on approach goals. Let’s figure out exactly what that is.
Now let’s talk about the difference between an avoidance goal and an approach goal. Let’s say that you find yourself on social media all the time. You’re scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, staying up way too late at night scrolling.
It’s very easy to immediately phrase this as an avoidance goal. You tell yourself, I don’t want to scroll after 8:00 PM. This is an avoidance goal because it’s focused on what you don’t want.
Avoidance Goals focus on what you DON'T want.
Here’s my question for you, though: If you needed to get to New York City, would you say, Hey Google, I don’t want to go to Kansas. No, you don’t tell Google where you don’t want to go. You tell Google where you do want to go. It’s the same exact thing for your brain.
What we need to do is we need to switch this into an approach goal. If you don’t want to be scrolling after 8:00 PM, what do you want to do? Maybe that goal looks like, I want to put my phone on my phone charger at 8:00 PM. That is an approach goal. It’s focused on what you do want to do. You could also try I want to read fiction after 8:00 PM. This not only gives your brain the example of what the phone is doing–the phone is going on its charger–but it also gives your brain something to focus on that replaces that original habit.
Approach Goals focus on what you DO want.
When we talk about changing our lives, we tend to focus only on reducing or getting rid of things. But that doesn’t give our brains direction. That’s why the mindset shift from avoidance goals to approach goals is so powerful.
What am I avoiding?
What am I getting out of my life?
What am I getting rid of?
What do I want?
Where am I going?
Who is the future version of me that I want?
What does she look like?
Now, if you’re having trouble figuring out what exactly these mindset shifts look like for you—’cause it can be a little bit difficult—make sure you check out our Future Self Mapping mini-course. This is a completely free mini-course. It takes less than 30 minutes to go through, and it teaches you how to identify the Core 4 Habits and the Core 4 Values that will make a difference in your life and give you a direction to move towards in terms of becoming your 2.0 Self.
Now, I want to remind you that both mindset shifts are going to take a while to adopt because you’ve probably been thinking the opposite way. You’ve been thinking in terms of avoidance, you’ve been thinking in terms of consistency, for your entire life. Give yourself some grace, give yourself time to adjust.
If you find yourself in an avoidance goal mentality or hyper-focusing on consistency, that’s okay. Just gently redirect yourself back to the mindset that you want to have.
By the way, if you’re loving these posts, make sure to check back here weekly, but also make sure you get on my email list! Every Monday, I send a video to my email list, but I also include journal prompts, activities, and other tools, techniques, and questions that you can use to implement mindset shifts even further in your own life. It’s kind of like a level-up of what you’re seeing in these posts.
And don’t forget to pop back next week because we’re going to be talking all about something I know we’re all experiencing right now, which is stress.